Monday April 20 Before I begin Monday's trip report, I forgot to mention, I did not eat anything at the Dodgers game on Saturday- just a bottled water
I woke up early and decided to head to a coffee house near my new hotel called Catalina Coffee Company
...it was only half a mile away and their website seemed interesting...As I headed towards the coffee house I didn't realize how close I was to the beach- only a five minute walk - what an amazing bargain at the Ramada for $54 a night!
I took a slight detour and took some photos
That's the pier in the background
I then went to the the coffee house- nice beach front atmosphere- ok- it's actually a block away from the beach, but mediocre coffee.....
I deliberately waited for rush hour traffic to subside (does it ever really subside in LA?)
before returning to the place that was closed on Sunday. It was going to be another hot day today- well into the 90's Aguas Tijuana Juice Bar
in Downey...supposedly modeled after an old style Baja Style Juice Stand such as this one....
They had everything including mexican soda, mexican ices, mexican candy and mexican food....
Here is just a portion of their menu board
I decided to get the Banana Strawberry Mango Smoothie. You have the choice to have it made with milk or orange juice- I chose orange juice..
The smoothie had a heavy banana - mango taste and I wondered if they used milk instead of orange juice, because again it tasted more like a shake. I enjoyed it and it didn't have that heavy yogurty- dairy taste that the smoothie at Juices Fountain had the day beforehand. After my late morning (11AM) smoothie I decided it was time for lunch #1
- first stop- El Tepeyac
- in the Boyle Heights Section of LA- near East LA
This is the real deal- the barrio!
Here's a portion of their menu
The Hollenbeck Burrito- named after the local police precinct...You can order a "Manuel Special" burrito too for just under $20
Just look at the size of this monstrosity- I can only imagine how big the "Manuel Special" is... and yes it was every bit as tasty as it looks- not incredibly spicy- but the marinated pork was bursting with amazing flavor...
I only finished a little more than half so I can get to lunch #2 Los Cinco Puntos
Also in Boyle Heights steps away from from the East LA border, it was previously written about by Ayersian
in the roadfood blog and the fact that they make the corn tortillas right there just drew me right there..
This is a bodega style "Mexican Deli" with takeout service only
I decided on the carnitas tacos- I asked for just about everything- but nothing too spicy- this is Cal- Mex cuisine of course- I deliberately asked the counter man to hold off on wrapping it up so I can take photos first-
I hit pay dirt twice in one meal!
It was probably the best taco I've ever had- unfortunately I was so full at this point I could only finish half of the second taco...
After my two gut busting lunches....I drove up to Malibu. I've never been and have heard amazing things...Once you get off the Freeway in Santa Monica- the drive up from there was amazing....First I turned off and went into the canyons..
and then hit Malibu Bluffs Park and walked the hiking trail for some incredible views of the coastline..
I wanted to check out more on Malibu but was running short on time (or so I thought) I wanted to check out The Getty Center before dinner and had a few hours to kill...
I arrived at The Getty Center
just after 3pm and the guard advised me they were closed on Mondays- I can't believe it I just got "Travelin Manned
My triple A guide book said they would be open today. The guard advised me that they "just started" closing on Mondays but assured me they would be open on Tuesday- well unfortunately I have other things going on Tuesday...and for the rest of the week for that matter so unfortunately It looks like the Getty Center simply won't be in the cards for this trip.
I had a few extra hours to kill, but didn't want to venture too far and be late for our meet n greet dinner...
I decided to head back towards Santa Monica (big mistake)
Yes the Beach there is really nice
and the palm lined streets are really cool
And I even had the chance to walk by this place
But, no I didn't go there- I would have if I had more time- Maybe next time..
However the traffic from Santa Monica to Studio City was beyond brutal....I left Santa Monica at 4:35 pm.....about 1/2 hour later and 12 miles away from Studio City, I had no alternative but to "put my GPS" into action and get off the freeway and see where it would take me if I want to be on time for our 6pm meal....
After battling bumper to bumper but moving traffic on Santa Monica Blvd, Melrose Avenue, "something something canyon road" I ended up on Ventura Blvd..
at 5:45pm at Big Glenn
and his son, Shane, arrived shortly afterwards, then Mar52
, and a few minutes later, Morganen
, but where's Elise T
First thing I noticed when I walked into the restaurant were the decorations and trinkets everywhere- on the wall on the ceiling...you name it...
Even the menu is pasted on the wall! For a detailed description of the meal see Mar52's review on the California Meet n Greet thread
I agree with Mar52's assessment of the meal.. except
I did not think that the Yakisoba broth was slimy, I actually thought it went well with the soba noodles..
I won't provide a detailed description but will include my photos.
We started out with appetizers and then ordered main dishes to share among us..
Half way through dinner, Elise T
called and said she was on her way..
I enjoyed the baby squid
But thought the Shogun Rolls were a little blah
The Stuffed Pumkin, stuffed with chicken veggies and served with a delicious ginger sauce was my favorite
and I thought the broth complimented the soba noodles quite well
and you can never go wrong with Chicken Gyoza
Then the main courses arrived...
Morganen's fish dish
Then Shane and Big Glenn's chicken dishes- they actually had fried chicken on the menu, and I was joking around with Glenn who is an Arkansas boy if he was planning on getting some.
I believe the bottom dish was Hawiaian Chicken
and my Seared Albacore Poki Bowl with brown rice...
Yes- that's seaweed that you see- I enjoyed my main meal- it had an underlying gingery, sesame soy sauce my only gripe was I thought they were stingy with the albacore..
I think we were all very satisified with our meals..
sometime during dinner, Elise T
arrived and suggested we go somewhere for dessert and I'm glad she did! We drove a few blocks (still in Studio City) (I actually went with Big Glenn and Shane) and we met at The Aroma Cafe
, but our first stop a few doors down was The Gelato Bar
Here's only a "sample" of their gelato selection..
I went with the Caffe and Cinammon, I first tried the Cinnamon which simply tasted like a sweet cinammon stick in gelatto form, and then finished off the Caffe which was even better...
Here's a sample of what we all ordered, don't ask me what the other flavors were- I have no idea...
after Gelato, we walked across the street to
This is the place where "Barretta" supposedly "offed" his wife..
and finally our last stop of the evening was the Aroma Cafe
Seeing these tantalizing cakes, I had to take photos, but after my first photo I was politely asked not to take any more photos- ok at least I have one.. Elise T
Yes, it looks amazing, I had a bite, and it tastes even better than it looks. Too bad I was too full to get something on my own.....
After some further after dinner conversation, we walked back outside and Big Glenn showed us all some amazing things he can do with handcuffs, but I won't get into that and will let Big Glenn
elaborate if he wants to...
After a fun and busy day, Big Glenn drove me back to my car and a little over 30 miles later I was back at my hotel in Redondo Beach...
Part 5 tomorrow
<message edited by wanderingjew on Wed, 04/29/09 7:38 AM>